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Year of Life

Amy Ball introduces the Society's theme for 2020 

2020 Year of LifeWelcome to 2020 and the Geological Society’s Year of Life! Throughout the year we will be running events, research conferences and other activities through our education and outreach programme exploring the theme of life. We will be covering everything from microbes and microfossils to evolution, biodiversity and mass extinctions past and present. Here’s a brief overview of some of the highlights we’re looking forward to in 2020.

Following on from our previous themed years, we will be hosting a number of public lectures throughout the year centred around the theme of life. As well as being delivered at the Geological Society in London, our Year of Life lectures will also be given as regional lectures across the UK. Our first Year of Life lecture, by Dr Stephan Lautenschlager, will be on 26 February on the topic of functional morphology and biomechanics in extinct vertebrates. We will also be running a joint public lecture with the Linnean Society on 23 June which will be given by Professor Daniela Schmidt on the subject of marine ecosystem responses to climate change and ocean acidification. All public lectures are free to attend and will be listed on our website:

As part of our conference programme we will be hosting a ‘Plastics in the Environment’ meeting on 14 May and a ‘Sulphur in the Earth System’ meeting later in the year.

Our Publishing House have put together a collection of Year of Life papers chosen by a group of early career researchers, which is accessible through the Lyell Collection: We are also developing a number of education resources throughout the year, including a Year of Life themed fossil set available for teachers and education groups to borrow, a set of infographics based on the geological timeline as well as other educational activities focussing on fossils, evolution and the history of life.

Finally, we are excited to announce that our Lower Library will be home to an exhibition by artist Melanie Ewar from 26 February for eight weeks. Melanie’s artwork, inspired by her own Jurassic fossil finds, conveys geological time and ancient lifeforms through quilted work, mixed media canvases and wall hanging installations.

If you would like to propose an event or get involved with any of our Year of Life activities, you can find more information on our Year of Life webpage: